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‘Humility’ Is Really Our New Pride

Columnist David Brooks mocks what passes for humility these days. He points to a tweet from the president of the European Central Bank: “I was humbled to be awarded an honorary degree by the London School of Economics earlier this week. Thank you so much for this prestigious honor!” Brooks notes the three rules of this fake humility.

#1) Never tweet about any event that could actually lead to humility. Never tweet: “I’m humbled that I went to a party, and nobody noticed me.” Never tweet: “I’m humbled that I got fired for incompetence.”

#2) Use the word humbled when the word proud would be more accurate. For example: “Truly humbled to be keynote speaker at TedX East Hampton.” The key to humility display is to use self-effacement as a tool to maximize your self-promotion.

#3) Never use a pronoun. Start your tweets with “Humbled to be …” or “Honored to be …” This sends the message that you have only a few seconds to dash off this tweet, because you’re so busy and important.

We used to dance around our humblebragging, but now Brooks says “our [so-called] humility is explicit, assertive, direct, and unafraid. We blaze forth so much humility that it’s practically blinding. Humility is the new pride.”

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